Both men and women travel for business, but it’s no surprise that the two genders tend to go about that travel differently. Research conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) Solutions Group is showing a surprising trend: women tend to book business travel sooner than their male counterparts. On average, women tend to book their business travel about two days earlier than men. Earlier research suggests that this is perhaps because women tend to stress about work-related travel and unforeseen events more than men. The mindset seems to be that the earlier a trip is booked, the fewer unforeseen issues arise.
This mindset is impacting the bottom-line for companies, who see an average of two percent savings on tickets booked by female employees, after controlling for other factors. The savings average $113 per ticket without controls, and $17 after controlling for other factors like routes and class. This saving adds up over the course of the year. A large company that pays for 2,000 trips/month could save $1.1 million.
There are some key areas where the gender difference is less. First, Millennials show the least difference in advance booking time. Second, the older a traveler is, male or female, the more likely that they will book earlier – regardless of gender or reason for traveling. However, women still tend to book earlier than their male counterparts in older age groups. Third, for road warriors, travelers who book more than 20 trips per year, the male/female difference in lead time dissipates. This may be due to less time in between trips to plan far ahead. Or, it could be that constant travel leads to less stress about unforeseen events while traveling. After all, when one is traveling that much, it is inevitable that certain situations will come up and be dealt with. Once a situation has arisen and been dealt with, it is much easier to incorporate that solution into future travel plans.
Travel preferences and behaviors aren’t just about a business traveler’s convenience. These choices can add up to a large sum over the course of a career. While there is certainly more research to be done on the subject of gender in business travel, these results are an interesting view into the ways that buying habits impact corporate expenditure.